Paully Wally of the DFL Sun Post Complains an Alcohol Tax Didn’t Pass
By Andrew Richter
If you can stomach reading this;
I had the opportunity recently to meet Sen. Chris Eaton, who represents Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center. Well, not so much as meet her as to hear her as part of a panel discussion on teen alcohol abuse topics. I attended the Minnesota Prevention Resource Center’s “Shutting Off the Tap to Teens” day-long workshop recently, representing the Partners in Prevention Coalition of the Wayzata School District, where it is my distinct pleasure to serve. I have received the equivalent of a master’s degree in substance use and abuse issues working with the coalition.
So are you there as a so-called journalist or as an activist?
Sen. Eaton impressed me with her depth of knowledge and her pragmatic way of looking at issues surrounding teen alcohol abuse. She seems like the type you could disagree with and still remain friends – rare in state politics these days.
Right…..and only DFLers are capable of that.
There are so many bills on so many issues that arise each legislative session that it’s impossible to track all of them. I was not aware until this presentation that Sen. Eaton was lead sponsor of a bill to significantly boost the tax on alcohol, beer, wine and spirits sales to create an alcohol “health impact fund.”
Health Impact Fund? Is that like “raise it for health” which is now going to pay for a Vikings Stadium?
As most of you know, the legislature and the governor chose instead to boost the tax on cigarettes and leave the alcohol excise tax where it has been since 1987.
So what? Why does it have to go up?
But what’s more impressive is that Sen. Eaton’s somewhat attention-getting legislation was in play up until the final hours of the session. Suffice to say the alcohol lobby swings a rather effective club when it comes to this type of legislation.
Wow! How impressive!
During her presentation, Sen. Eaton alluded to opposition to her bill from legislators on the Iron Range. She told the group they “don’t want their liquor messed with” on the Range. Having lived there, I could vouch for the veracity of her statement.
The alcohol lobby? You mean the people who make a living selling beer and alcohol to support themselves? Oh those selfish people.
She said it was also difficult to get full support from the leadership in the House and Senate because the liquor lobby contributes heavily to campaigns. Staying in the majority is a high priority for the leadership.
And for the Sun Post.
And her efforts failed despite having the ex-wife of Gov. Mark Dayton working with her. Sen. Eaton’s efforts received loud and long rounds of applause from those attending the “Shutting Off the Tap to Teens” event. They obviously agreed that making liquor more expensive is a way to keep teens from drinking and suffering the negative consequences of illegal use and abuse.
Raising the tax significantly has worked on the tobacco use side of the equation. Eaton and other supporters of her legislation claim they have iron-clad proof it works for alcohol as well.
Yeah right! The DFL just wants more tax dollars to spend, they don’t care where it comes from,
The opposition took on a decided nonscholarly tone during the legislative session. Here’s an excerpt from a forum in which the Eaton legislation was discussed.
“If someone wants to propose a new tax or increased tax they should at least make it plausible. A 300 percent increase is just silly and has no possible chance of passing, and I’m sure the knucklehead that propsed it (sic) is very aware of that fact. I’m sure he just wanted to look like he was doing something, he probably hadn’t see his name in the paper lately so thought he’d give people something to talk about.”
Umm … the senator is a she, thank you.
Look for this legislation to be back for another try in 2014.
And you will be their cheerleader!
Memo to the Sun Post; Give Paully Wally the rest of the year off…..he’s already written the worst column of the year!